Monthly Archives

May 2014

Photography

Photographing pets

May 28, 2014

A couple of weeks back we had some alright-ish weather (what us Brits call ‘summer’) and I decided to take my camera along when we talk the dogs for a walk.

If you’ve ever tried to photograph pets you’ll know how tricky it can be. They wander around as if they’re unaware you’re trying to take pictures of them.

Here are a few more pictures and I’ve thrown in a couple of pictures of Crunchie for the cat fans.

I feel like the these two pictures of Dylan should be made into a GIF where his ears are flapping up and down.

Bert usually looks like he’s grinning but for some reason he was wearing his scared / horrified face.

It’s the fangs that do it for me in this picture, they look so funny.

Book Reviews, Chick Lit

You’re The One That I Want – Giovanna Fletcher | Review

May 27, 2014

Spoiler free!

Description from GoodreadsMaddy, dressed in white, stands at the back of the church. At the end of the aisle is Rob – the man she’s about to marry. Next to Rob is Ben – best man and the best friend any two people ever had.

And that’s the problem.

Because if it wasn’t Rob waiting for her at the altar, there’s a strong chance it would be Ben. Loyal and sensitive Ben has always kept his feelings to himself, but if he turned round and told Maddy she was making a mistake, would she listen? And would he be right?

Best friends since childhood, Maddy, Ben and Rob thought their bond was unbreakable. But love changes everything. Maddy has a choice to make but will she choose wisely? Her heart, and the hearts of the two best men she knows, depend on it.


Occasionally I like a good bit of a chick lit. I saw someone tweet about You’re The One That I want and decided to look into it after falling in love with the cover. (I know, I’m not supposed to judge a book by its cover but I do.)

The outcome is predictable and that much is clear from the description. Usually that would be a very bad thing but this book isn’t about being unpredictable; it’s about the journey the characters take to reach the end point.

The story is told from the point of view of Maddy and Ben, with some short excerpts from Rob, starting from when they first met at 9 years old. All three of the main characters were well developed and realistic.

I was instantly hooked by this book and I finished it in under 24 hours. It was so absorbing and wonderfully written.

You felt the characters joy and you felt the characters pain and despair, it was infectious. At times it was heartwarming and at others heartbreaking.

It was also easy to relate to. Though we may not go through the exact experiences in the book I think there are a lot of people who will have experienced at least one of those events and understand how the character felt.

It was also nostalgic for me as the characters grow up in the 90s and 00s. It took me back to days at school I’d forgotten about.

I could gush about this book for a while but you need to read it to appreciate it for yourself. It’s beautifully written, relatable and you feel the characters emotions.

In short: A wonderfully written books about a journey through friendship, falling in love and heartbreak.

Cost: £2.99 from Amazon UK on Kindle – Link – price correct as of 23/05/2014

Would I recommend it: Absolutely. I’m not a massive fan of chick lit but I do enjoy it occasionally and this was wonderful.

Have you read You’re The One That I Want? If you haven’t, would you? 
Humour

8 British problems

May 26, 2014


There’s nothing like going abroad to make you realise how British you are. When I was in Spain I was talking to some friends about British issues and it inspired me to write this. 

No, none of it is immensely original but there are a few stories thrown in for amusement.

No one else can queue like we do
It seems that outside the UK queuing is non-existent. I was stood in a queue in Spain and people just wandered in front of me and stood there like there was nothing wrong.

Of course I smiled but in my head I was having a Basil Fawlty style rant, jumping up and down calling them all kinds of names.

I love it when you go abroad and stay in a hotel which has a buffet. The horror on British people’s faces when other people push in front of them is brilliant. One year, I remember my family got talking to another family over the lack of queuing and our disgust about that.

Yes, that haircut is fine
Most of us have had a bad haircut at one point or another but we will never tell the hairdresser or barber that.

One of my friends, who’s hair is fairly long for a bloke, ended up having a grade 3 all over – which was not what he asked for. Instead of expressing his annoyance he said ‘yeah that’s fine’. I mean, what does it matter, you can’t stick it back on and it’ll grow back.

I once had a hair dresser who seemed to hear a different thing to what I was asking for when it came to my fringe. Every time she failed to do it the way I wanted; I didn’t complain and I still kept going to her.

Nodding when you don’t understand an accent
I am absolutely awful at understanding foreign accents. In fact they don’t even need to be foreign, I’ve been known to be baffled by the Geordie accent.

There are only so many times (it’s about two by the way) we will ask someone to repeat themselves before we feel embarrassed and just nod. Five minutes later we’ll wonder what we agreed to or with.

Thanking cold callers
I work in an office where we get quite a lot of cold callers. Even if they are rude to us when we turn down their services, everyone in my office says ‘thank you’ in a genuinely polite way before putting the phone down.

A few months back we had a crazy cold caller who kept pretending to be different people (but they all had the same strong Scottish accent…) from different businesses and he was incredibly rude to us. We still thanked him after telling him where he could stick it.

A long winded overly polite way of saying goodbye
We can’t possibly say ‘I’m going now, bye’, we have to say something like ‘I should get going now because…’. We feel we have to make an excuse for why we have to leave. Even if we’ve been there for 20 hours, we’ll still make an excuse about why we’re going now. Most of the time, it’s a lie by the way.

Hiding your hatred for tea
We are expected to enjoy tea, I personally hate it. I fear I’m putting myself at great risk by saying this on the internet.

Not understanding why Americans get so excited over everything
I apologise, I don’t want to tar all American with the same brush and mean no offence. However, on the majority of TV shows involving Americans, they’re always depicted as whooping and clapping at everything. We don’t get that.

We ‘keep calm’ at all times and may simply say ‘yeah it was alright’. We’re not a nation that’s good at showing our happiness about something. It’s not that we’re miserable, we just like to save our enthusiasm for when our sportsmen and women fail in international competitions.

For example, when England inevitably get knocked out of the World Cup we won’t stop talking about it. Even those of us like myself who don’t like football. We’ll be all ‘Yeah, we invented the sport and we’re no good at it’ and ‘Good, now people can take all those stupid flags off their cars’.

(Sidenote: If you ask a British person how their day is going and they say ‘not too bad’, that means it’s going well by the way.)

The Royal Family annoy us, unless we get a day off and they’re the greatest thing ever
In the run up to Wills and Kate’s wedding we got sick of hearing about them. They were in every newspaper, magazine and news show, you couldn’t escape them.

When we heard we were getting a day off so we could uhm ‘watch the royal wedding’, they were the best thing since sliced bread.

We were very disappointed that we didn’t get a day off to watch the cringe-worthy coverage of Prince George’s birth.

Share some more British problems below. 

Uncategorized

Why does it matter how someone else lives their life?

May 25, 2014

 


Grab a cuppa’ because I’m gonna get deep on y’all here. (Yes, I’m very British but I like saying ‘y’all’ right now) It’s something I’ve been thinking about for weeks and I feel I need to get it out here. 

Every time I turn on the news or read the paper, a large portion of the stories are about hate. Whether it’s religious groups, terrorists or bullying online or offline. It got me to thinking: why does it matter how someone else lives their life?

I’ve always been a fussy eater and when I was a kid I would often say ‘eww’ when I asked what everyone was having for dinner. The response I usually got was ‘It doesn’t matter, you don’t have to eat it.’, so why can’t people apply that same logic to how other people live their life?

Unless it directly affects you and damages your happiness and well being, why does it matter what someone else believes in or dresses like? In short, it doesn’t.

It doesn’t matter that I’m not religious and that perhaps you (the reader) are. It doesn’t matter that you like to dress one way and I like to dress differently. It doesn’t matter that perhaps we don’t fit in with ‘the cool kids’. None of it matters.

All that really matters is each of us being happy. (Soppy right?) It frustrates me that there is so much hate between groups of people who believe in different things or live their lives in different ways.

Racism has always baffled me. I just don’t understand how you can hate someone because of their race. If they’re an absolute asshole then fine, dislike them for that but to judge and hate someone because of their race? That’s ridiculous. It can’t be a nice way to live being so consumed by hate.

Why can’t everyone just let everyone live their life as they want? I get that I’m painting quite an unrealistic picture here because sadly it’s unlikely everyone on Earth will ever live in complete harmony. Sadly there will always be wars and hate but perhaps if less people interfered with other people’s lives there would be less wars and hate.

I just had to get all of this off my chest, it’s been driving me nuts for weeks.

Share your thoughts below. 

 

Beauty, Cruelty Free, Foundation

Barry M Flawless Finish Foundation in Ivory | review

May 21, 2014


Last year I decided to go cruelty free and on the recommendation of one of my Mum’s friends, I picked up Barry M’s Flawless Finish Foundation. 


The packaging is quite plain which I like. I’ve seen a few bloggers compare it to Benefit’s Hello Oxygen packaging and I can see similarities.


The consistency is quite thin which means a little bit goes a long way; I need around 2 pumps to cover my face. It dries to leave a matte finish but it doesn’t leave your skin looking dull.  
If you’re looking for a foundation that provides heavy coverage, this is not the foundation you’re looking for. You can of course get more coverage by putting concealer and a powder over the top.

I always put a powder over the top and I find it lasts me pretty much all day. Again, remember it’s not heavy coverage. 

Overall I’m really impressed with this foundation; it provides light coverage and it gets on with my skin well. It keeps my skin looking and feeling nice all day. 
There are only five shades in the range, I chose the palest one and that’s perfect for my skin. It’s nice to see a range that does cater to pale skin but I think you might struggle to find a shade you can wear if you have dark skin. 
In short: An affordable long lasting foundation that provides light coverage. 
Is it cruelty free: Yes, Barry M are cruelty free. You can read their animal testing policy here. 

Price: £5.99 (Price correct as of 19/04/2014) 
Would I recommend and repurchase: Yes to both, but remember it won’t provide you with heavy coverage. 


Cruelty Free

GOSH Pressed Powder

May 20, 2014


Last weekend I was in Superdrug and in need of a new powder and discovered GOSH. They’re cruelty free and reasonably priced. 
I picked up the lightest shade, Golden Honey, which is a perfect match for my skin tone. 
The packaging is black and you have to press a little button in to open the compact which feels a little flimsy. As you can see from the image the bottom of the lid has a mirror and it also comes with an applicator.

I’ve been using this for two or three weeks now and it goes on really easy and makes my skin feel smooth. But after a few hours my skin feels tacky and it oxidises, so perhaps it’s not the best for combination / oily skin like mine.

In short: A nice powder but it doesn’t suit my skin.

Is it tested on animals: No!

Price: £7.99 from Superdrug (Price correct as of 18/05/2014)

Would I repurchase? No because it doesn’t work for my skin but I would recommend it if you have ‘normal’ skin and I would try some of their other products.

Have you tried this powder? 
Books, Dystopian, Paranormal

Open Minds – Susan Kaye Quinn | Review*

May 19, 2014

Spoiler free!

Goodreads description: ‘When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.

Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.’

This is the first book I began reading from the What Tomorrow May Bring Boxset. 
I was hooked from the first page and pulled into a world where mind reading was possible. It was so immersing that there were a couple of times I had to remind myself that mind reading didn’t exist in real life. 
From the opening pages I felt for Kira. She was having a hard time and more than anything she wanted to fit in and be like everyone else. When she discovered her ability, I felt her frustration and how overwhelming things were when she was getting used to her abilities. 
The pacing was quite fast but it didn’t feel too fast or overwhelming. It was one of those books where you reach the end and can’t believe how much the author fitted in without it feeling rushed. 
Overall I found Open Minds to be an enjoyable read that I got through quickly because I couldn’t put it down. 
4 out of 5 
In short: A gripping fantasy / paranormal books which grabs hold of you and doesn’t let go until the last page. 
Would I recommend it? Yes, if you enjoy paranormal / dystopian then give this a go. 
* I received this book for free as part of the What Tomorrow May Bring box set with no obligation to review it. But I did, because it was so awesome. 
Photography, York

A day in York | Photos

May 18, 2014

A couple of weeks back went on a day trip to York with some of our friends. It was the first time I’d ever been and I have no idea why I hadn’t gone before, it’s such a beautiful city.

As well as being a beautiful city with some beautiful buildings, they love cats! There’s a ‘cat trail’ in York, which you can follow around the city looking for cats on the fronts of buildings, there was also a shop for cat lovers which had a board game called Catopoly in the window. I’d love to play that.

Here are a few more pictures from the day.

A beautiful Italian restaurant, I can’t remember what it was called now though.

 

Zatchel’s Hello Kitty collection <3

Have you ever been to York?